It was a red carpet divided.
One group of actresses — Naomi Watts, Cate Blanchett, Kate Hudson, Penelope Cruz, Sarah Paulson, and Naomi Campbell, to name a few — opted for pale hues. They were delicate, lovely. Some embellished and metallic, some not, but all exquisitely feminine.
Another array of actresses wore bold statement gowns, led by a small army in gorgeous blue. The legendary Liza Minnelli even dyed a blue streak in her hair to match her royal blue
satin one-shoulder pantsuit. Amy Adams and Sandra Bullock opted for classic deep blues. But quite a few of the blue ooohs and ahhhs were directed at “12 Years a Slave” star Lupita Nyong’o in a stunning, plunging pale blue Prada gown. She has become a red-hot red carpet player this season. Even seasoned actresses couldn’t compete with her fashion acumen.
These actresses, along with Jennifer Lawrence in blazing red and Charlize Theron vamping perfectly in black, were standouts. Lawrence may have tripped on the red carpet and gotten picked on by Ellen DeGeneres, but there was no making fun of the nominee’s traffic-stopping gown.
Yet it was those pale, barely-there colors — worn gorgeously (Kristen Bell in corseted Cavalli) and not-so-gorgeously (Julie Delpy in a frumpy Jenny Packham gown) — that dominated. Aside from Blanchett, who was perfection in Armani, Naomi Watts was a favorite in shimmering white Calvin Klein, chic with a high neck, short sleeves, runway hair, and Bulgari diamond collar.
It was the most anticipated gown of the evening, and it didn’t disappoint. Nyong’o looked as if she was a floating goddess in a pale blue gown, custom-made from Prada. The headband made it all the more regal. She said the color of the dress reminded her of her native Nairobi. But it was also a reminder of how to wear color successfully at the Oscars.
Many actresses had the blues at the Academy Awards this year, but Sandra Bullock, in Alexander McQueen, wore it more successfully than the rest. This is the classic beauty we’ve been waiting for from Bullock in a deep midnight blue.
After a few red-carpet misfires this season, Adams said she decided to dress for herself this time. She should stick with her instincts more often. The fitted navy Gucci gown was a lovely throwback to the 1950s, complete with the Kim Novak-inspired hair and makeup.
There were several actresses in pale pink, white, and nude gowns, but Blanchett was the one who stunned, looking as if a field of Swarovski crystal petals had sprouted from her Armani Privé gown with its tulle skirt with degrade sequins.
On “American Horror Story,” Paulson’s character ended up as the Supreme. She found the same role on the red carpet. The golden color of her Elie Saab gown may have been demure, but Paulson stood out from her stylish competition.
Pete Campbell from “Mad Men” called on his rotary phone. He’d like his tux back. Color was big this season for men on the red carpet, but thankfully not the color that Spacey was wearing.
Hot off his Olympic fashion tour, Weir erased any doubt that he is the Liberace of our generation. Those ruffles! That brooch! And no modern Liberace look would be complete without a giant ring.
He got lucky with this fashion risk. Normally grown men should not be showing leg on the red carpet. But Pharrell’s ensemble (a shortsedo?) from Lanvin worked much better than the Smokey the Bear hat.
The “Dallas Buyers Club” nominee left the man-bun at home and contrasted his loose locks with a formal Yves Saint Laurent tuxedo jacket in white. For this Oscar red carpet, white was the new black.
Like her “Blue Jasmine” costar Cate Blanchett, Hawkins opted for a neutral gown — this one from Valentino — with a bit of sparkle. Sadly, it looked like an ill-fitting dress made of gold-plated barnacles.
On one hand, it was an improvement over everything else she’s worn this season. On the other, it was still a miss. Her Givenchy looked like a series of doilies pieced together from the Addams family’s mansion.
From the baby bump up, she was a vision in iced lavender — custom Jason Wu. Unfortunately, the steamer didn’t make it below the knee, where Washington looked a bit too
A lesson in how not to wear an Oscar gown. Imagine, if you will, a drag queen dressed as Stevie Nicks. Now take that dress and place it on Delpy. Sadly, it’s not appropriate before or after midnight.